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Dilemma: I'm lonely without my late husband

Jo Brand / 21 June 2017

Following the death of her husband shortly after moving to a new town a reader feels isolated and lonely.

Lonely woman
After downsizing to the coast, a reader has been left lonely and isolated following the death of her husband

Dilemma: I feel isolated and lonely

I downsized to the coast about ten years ago but my husband died five years later. Since then I’ve found it very hard to make new friends here and just feel lonely all the time. 

I’d move back to London where I still have friends but I can’t afford it now and it’s a long way to visit. I’m in my seventies and have never worked, but I can drive (though not to London). I just feel stuck and helpless.

Jo Brand's advice

I think you have two options – and you’ll have to be creative. 

First, you could determine to stick with the coast and throw everything into making connections with local people. This can be done by looking online or in the library to see if there are any local groups you could attend. I reckon there will be plenty, from local history to bowls to belly dancing (actually that last one probably doesn’t exist but I put it in because it annoys me that things on offer for older people often seem a bit dull, to be honest).

Do you like walking? It’s a good way of getting some exercise and fresh air, and is much more fun when you’re with a group of other people. I’ve no idea why they call it rambling, though… that’s something I often do after downing a few brandies.

If you decide you really can’t face doing a big push to meet new people, try to think of creative ways to get back to London. Could you find a small flat for example or, heaven forfend, share with someone? Perhaps one of your friends might fancy the idea.

There really are ways round this but when you’re feeling down and isolated it’s difficult to envisage a bright future.

The problem is that unless you force yourself to do something, you will continue to believe that there is no hope for you. There are all kinds of ways of looking for new social openings online and at your age there’s no excuse not to use a laptop or tablet. So it’s up to you to get out there. Good luck!

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